Who is Watching Your Boat?

sherlock-holmesNow that much of the North is into fall, and you are going to your boat less often, who is watching your boat when you aren’t there? During the fall, we all want to squeeze in as many hours or even minutes on the water as we can. Knowing that haul out is just around the corner, each fall visit to the boat or fall cruise is precious.

Most marinas regularly check all the boats, but many do not spot smaller problems or potential problems. In some harbours, there is no one to check on the boats at all. If your boat isn’t being checked, there is a simple solution.

From a very young age, we were all taught the buddy system to encourage us to look out for each other. It worked very well back then and still does. To avoid problems or a catastrophe with your boat, use the buddy system. Team up with a “Boat-Check Buddy” or two to watch over each other’s boats. Together, make up a list of items to check like:

  • loose, untied or chafed dock lines (leads to scratches and gouges) – see picture #3
  • shore cords in the water (can cause electric shock drowning)
  • shore cords disconnected (frig and bilge pumps stop working)
  • rain water puddles on the canvas (can cause leaking and mildew) – see picture #1
  • boat floating lower than normal (taking on water)
  • unsnapped canvas (allows it to flap and tear, and unsnap more) – see pictrue #4
  • partly unfurled furling (damages sails) – see picture #2
  • loose halyards (wears the halyards by beating against the mast or shrouds)
  • missing or loose fenders (exposes the hull to damage) – see picture #3
  • wet interior glass or isinglass plastic, etc.
  • signs of entry by humans or rodents
rain-puddle-canvas      furling-unfurled-flapping     dock-lines-loose-scratch      canvas-unsnapped

Your check list may be longer or shorter, depending on the boat’s size and your marina’s monitoring efficiency. Exchange contact info with your buddies and set up an agreed procedure as to who will handle what problems and how to notify each other and/or the marina.

After haul out, I suggest you and your buddies keep checking each other’s boats all winter. Boats that are stored outside under a tarp or shrink wrap, need to be checked after severe wind storms and heavy snow falls. A small tear on a sharp unpadded point will grow and grow. Regular checks will catch a little rip before it grows to a full blown tear and separation.

We can learn a lesson from our kids and grandkids. They are always taking and sending pictures of something to someone with their smart phones. You can do the same with your smart phone.

When checking out a buddy’s boat for him, snap a photo or two of a potential problem or even if all is okay. Then email or text your buddy a note with the pictures attached. He’ll be more knowledgeable to a course of action and be very appreciative, as you would be regarding your “pride and joy”.

Knowing a Boat-Check Buddy is there and watching out for your “pride and joy” when you are away, will make the fall and winter time of fewer visits, less stressful.

What catastrophe have you experienced or averted, while not at your boat and how?

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